Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Homily

Meghan Daum's current column does a pretty good job in distilling the uneasiness many of us feel with Rick Santorum's candidacy. Apparently she got a lot of flak for a prior column which referred to Santorum as a "weird, pious wackadoo" (that column can be found here), and I suspect Thursday's effort was written in response.

She reiterates Santorum's stands on homosexuality, abortion, and birth control and rather deftly reminds us of the low brow humor that has evolved from those stands (Google "Santorum" for openers). Then, however, she pivots nicely into a serious discussion of those stands and what we ought to be doing about them.

As much as I'm no Santorum fan, I think it's time to declare a moratorium on the innuendo, the grossed-out laughter and invective. Not just because it's unseemly but because much of it is intellectually dishonest. The act of sleeping with a baby's corpse, or deciding not to have sex unless you want to paint the nursery again, or changing your mind about what you're looking for in a boyfriend, doesn't always deserve political scrutiny or public judgment — even if the Santorums bring it up.

And that's the point. Santorum's opponents should respect the difference between private life and public policy for this obvious reason: He himself does not. Though few doubt the sincerity of his personal beliefs, nearly everything that passes his lips is cause for doubting his understanding of basic democratic principles — the ones that honor differences, respect privacy and protect individual liberty.
[Emphasis added]

That is indeed the point. Right now the national "debate" is over government intrusion into the affairs of church when it comes to birth control and abortion, two key areas of women's health. I also don't want government intrusion into matters of faith, but I also don't want a church, any church, intruding into my government. I don't want any government intrusion into my bedroom, nor do I want any intrusion into my uterus or vagina (I'm looking at you, Virginia state government) because some "weird, pious wackadoos" want to force their religious beliefs down my throat by hijacking my government.

It's time that the debate got framed in those terms, which is actually what the First Amendment is really about.


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